Civilized Beasts Poetry Anthology, 2015 Edition – book review by Fred Patten
by Patch O'Furr
Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.
Civilized Beasts, Poetry Anthology, 2015 Edition, editor-in-chief Laura Govednik.
Manvil, TX, Weasel Press, December 2015, trade paperback $8.99 (86 pages), Kindle $2.99.
This small, slim volume has four Editors and an Editor-In-Chief. Editor Jason Huitt (Lunostophiles) explains in his Foreword that poetry has an image problem; that it “is hard to sell to the masses.” (The other three Editors are Altivo Overo, Televassi, and George Squares.) I agree with his reason that it has a cultural stereotype of being ‘for the elite’. I would also say that it’s too short and plotless.
Civilized Beasts, 2015 Edition contains 55 poems by 33 authors. Most are a single page or less long. That makes Civilized Beasts best for reading in short bursts, a few poems at a time. The anthology is a charity for the Wildlife Conservation Society. “All proceeds from this anthology go towards the Wildlife Conservation Society.”
It is hard to get really “furry” in one page. Only a couple have what might be called a furry plot; notably “Two Thieves on a Bluff” by George Squares, and “Why the Coyote Is: A Legend I Mostly Made Up But Is Undeniably True” by David Andrew Cowan. Most poems are about the beauty of nature; wild animals fleetingly glimpsed, animals frozen at night by a car’s headlights, animals’ eyes glowing at night, and so on. There are several about “trickster coyote”, but almost all are about real coyotes:
“Brown and gray
Sand in a desert sunset
Golden eyes laughing at and with you
Here and gone”
from God’s Dog by BanWynn Oakshadow
Some of the titles are more memorable than their poems, such as “The Mice’s Nightmare” by Stefano “Mando” Zocchi, “A Kiss from a Black Deer” by Dwale, “To My Lover, the Bloody-Faced Fox” by Kits Koriohn, “Ballad of the Weaselish Weasels” by Kenket, “Why I Am Sometimes Jealous of the Cat” by Renee Carter Hall, and “Taking Down the Hummingbird Feeder”, by Denise Clemons.
Other notable authors include Amy Fontaine, Larry D. Thomas, Arian Mabe, Chris Wise, and Alice “Huskyteer” Dryden. The cover is by Darkomi, and there is a title page drawing by Hickupby.
When people say “furry fiction”, they don’t usually think of poetry. Civilized Beasts aims to change that. It is intended to be an annual poetry anthology.